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A New York Bill Seeks to Reduce Natural Gas Use. Here’s What to Know.

A bill gaining traction in Albany aims to break New Yorkers’ reliance on natural gas in hopes that they will seek out greener alternatives.

Efforts to shoehorn the NY HEAT Act into a packed state budget are underway, with supporters contending that swift action is necessary because of the pressures of climate change and opponents say the proposed law should be set aside and more carefully considered. The deadline to finalize the budget is April 1.

But what does the bill propose, exactly? Here’s what to know.

What would it do?

The NY HEAT (New York Home Energy Affordable Transition) Act seeks to limit a requirement known as the “obligation to serve,” where utilities automatically provide gas to new customers who request it, and to curb the expansion of gas infrastructure.

Gas companies must provide free hookups to new customers within 100 feet of the pipe system. Existing ratepayers subsidize the work.

Getting rid of the so-called 100-foot rule would save ratepayers about $200 million annually and encourage utilities and new customers to explore other energy options.

What’s the goal?

The bill’s broader aim is to accelerate a shift away from natural gas and help limit emissions from the burning of fossil fuels that cause global warming.

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